Negative online posts, even anonymous ones with questionable authenticity, can have a significant impact on a company’s sales figures, revenues and bottom line. And now, at least according to one court, they can also be used as evidence of trademark infringement. Earlier this year, a federal court in the Middle District of Florida ruled in You Fit Inc. v. Pleasanton Fitness LLC that an anonymous Yelp review of a fitness club was admissible evidence of actual confusion in a trademark infringement action.
You Fit, Inc. owned and operated health clubs under the “You Fit” name. It brought suit against defendants, including two former franchisees of You Fit who owned and operated health clubs called “Fit U”, alleging claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and related state law claims.